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Hospital negligence more common than some care to think


It is tempting and even logical to think that hospitals provide adequate, effective and safe care to their patients. While it is true that many go to the hospital and come out in better shape, the fact remains that others find themselves the victim of medical malpractice. These institutions, often thought of as saving lives, actually pose the eight leading cause of death: hospital mistakes and hospital acquired infections. A study conducted by the independent hospital watchdog group Leapfrog, found one in four patients suffer some form of hospital-initiated harm.

Some experts suggest patients take their safety into their own hands by asking their doctors and nurses questions. For example, if an individual is going in for surgery on his or her left leg, the patient should get verbal confirmation that the proper limb is being prepped, or he or she could even go as far as labeling on which leg the operation is to be conducted.

While being proactive about one's healthcare is important, it will not prevent all types of hospital and doctor negligence. Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, surgical tools will be left inside patients, medication errors will be made, and medical conditions will fail to be diagnosed. When negligence happens and harm occurs, including leading to a worsened medical condition, these individuals should consider filing a lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital that harmed them.

Using his or her experience and extensive knowledge of the law and legal precedent, a Massachusetts attorney can help file a lawsuit. Before the case goes to trial, the attorney can help spur negotiations with the other side in an attempt to reach a settlement. This may allow the victim to recover compensate for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering without the lengthy, painful process of a trial. Yet, if the claim does go before a judge and jury, the attorney will fight to prove the defendants' negligence caused the victim's harm. Perhaps then the victim will be able to reach a full recovery and the hospital will take the necessary steps to become the safe institution it is supposed to be for patients.

Source: Jefferson Public Radio, "Hospitals Aren't As Safe As You Might Think," Tiffany Eckert, Jan. 24, 2013

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